Review: Gray Hawk Of Terrapin by Moss Whelan


Gray Hawk of Terrapin is a heart-wrenching Y/A fantasy by Moss Whelan that introduces Melanie (Mool) Fraser.

Ever since her father’s death, Mool has been talking with an imaginary green lion named Inberl. When Mool’s mysterious uncle gets sick, she and her mother take the train from Vancouver, Canada to the inner world of Terrapin, where Inberl is arrested because he’s looking for Gray Hawk. Springing into action, Mool sets out to rescue Inberl.

Mool’s know-it-all cousin, Olga, helps track down family friend Parshmander who might know how to save Inberl. They corner Parshmander at home, where they overhear mention of Gray Hawk, but the girls are captured and interrogated. Upon release, Mool feels success when she sees a secret map, finds a hidden bridge and crosses it with Olga. On the other side of the bridge, they find a secret city that keeps Terrapin at war.

Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey laced with evil, chronicling histories of cruelty, kidnapping, and false imprisonment in search of meaning and justice.


This is the kind of book I loved as a teenager. It reminded me a lot of the Philip Pullman or even CS Lewis books which I devoured in my youth.

It is a bit of a slow start but the excitement builds up through the chapters. The characters are well thought out and I found the main character Mool to be very likeable and relatable. I loved the way every day teenage problems were interwoven into the journey of discovery which Mool goes on in this magical world.

The other characters and creatures are certainly interesting and creative. The descriptions in the book made me really feel that I had stepped inside this other world where Terrapin exists. There are quirky turns of phrase and made up words which all add to the author’s highly individual and imaginative style. Actually the style is highly intelligent which was refreshing albeit sometimes complex. I sometimes had to stop and check I had read a sentence properly to get my head around the sense of it. This reminded me of Terry Pratchett novels at times.

The reader is kept guessing throughout the book and I had no idea where the plot was leading me which was pleasing.

Moss Whelan has more than a touch of genius and I’m sure will soon be a household name. He will be up there with the great names in fantasy fiction. There is bound to be a sequel to this and I look forwards to reading other novels by Moss Whelan.

Reviewed by Coralie

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Author Bio

Moss Whelan (1968) born in Vancouver, British Columbia, is the Canadian author of Gray Hawk of Terrapin published on January the 12th, 2018. He is an English Literature Bachelor of Arts, a Creative Writing Associate, and possesses a Diploma in Writing for Film, Television, and Interactive Media. He is active in the online Fantasy community and teaches Creative Writing. His work depicts a return to transcendent self-esteem in contrast with world views that shape perceived reality. He received the President’s Award at Douglas College and the M. Sheila O’Connel Undergraduate Prize in Children’s Literature at Simon Fraser University. A survivor of PTSD, he hopes to be a voice for continued access to mental health.


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